Rejection of Brexit deal "unhealthy information", second referendum simply "speculation": French minister

Cheryl Sanders
January 30, 2019

Because of Theresa May's catastrophic defeat on her Brexit deal last week, next Tuesday she must hold a vote on her Plan B. Other MPs can try to re-write it.

But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the prime minister was in denial about the level of opposition to her deal.

And her official spokesman made clear that she is focusing on the possibility of changes to the backstop mechanism, created to ensure there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic if a broader trade deal can not be agreed.

So far, MPs have floated the ideas of tabling amendments to extend the March 29 withdrawal, calling for a second referendum, forming a citizen's assembly of voters who could reach a consensus on Brexit, or letting MPs cast "indicative votes" on the Brexit they prefer.

The amendment would add text to "support or reference" on the 1998 peace deal to set out how both sides would guarantee an open border after Brexit or have the United Kingdom and Ireland agree to a separate set of principles, the newspaper said.

"It is time for Labour's alternative plan to take centre stage, while keeping all options on the table, including the option of a public vote", Corbyn said.

He replied, "If you like to push me and speculate on what might happen in a no-deal scenario in Ireland, I think it's pretty obvious, you will have a hard border".

Labour's amendments will be voted on by MPs on January 29 in the Commons.

Her government agreed a withdrawal deal with the European Union in November - covering topics such as the "divorce bill" and the Irish border - but it was rejected by MPs by a majority of 230 votes.

Instead, she promised to seek changes to the accord to push back the prospect of Europe invoking a "back stop" clause that would keep Britain in the EU customs union.

However, opposition parties accused her of refusing to accept that MPs had rejected her deal, and expressed doubt she could get the changes she needed to win them over.

The prime minister's original Brexit deal put to parliament was overwhelmingly rejected by a majority of 230 MPs on Tuesday. Parliamentarians started tabling amendments last night, after the Prime Minister's statement.

But Mrs May said another European Union referendum could threaten the UK's "social cohesion".

But that for me is all meaningless, because when she was asked what she was looking for from Brussels on the backstop, all she said was that she wanted something that would command the support of the House.

But, if Theresa May gets enough votes without DUP support, what then?

The backstop remains one of the key sticking points in Brexit negotiations, with the future of Northern Ireland's border with the Republic unclear.

Providing it has the support of 10 lawmakers, from at least four political parties, it then makes time for a piece of legislation Cooper has proposed, which gives May until February 26 to get a deal approved by parliament.

Jacek Czaputowicz said on Monday that it could be set at five years to allow a deal to pass the UK Parliament.

Meanwhile, Ireland's Coveney told reporters on Monday that "putting a time limit on the insurance mechanism" that the backstop is would effectively mean that "it's not a backstop at all".

Other reports by iNewsToday